Born in 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico, Diego Rivera began studying traditional oil painting at San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts at the age of 12. Soon after being recognized for his profound skill set, he moved to Madrid in 1907 to pursue his artistic career at the San Fernando Royal Academy. Three years later he moved to Paris to continue his artistic pursuit and training. Inspired by the political turmoil in his home country of Mexico, Rivera’s work became more political. His work has been coined as social realism. He moved back home in 1921 and joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1922. Many galleries and critics have shunned him for his political views, but Rivera viewed his work as an opportunity to change his surroundings. His work started off as traditionally realist, shifted to cubism then became a more modernist representation of reality; using distorted figures and dramatic compositions to tell the viewer his narrative.
Diego Rivera’s work has been shown around the world for over a century. Rivera made it a point to surround himself with fellow artists, even marrying two; one of his later wives being Frida Kahlo. He intended to make a statement to the public. Some of his murals are still up today, many of which are in the Diego Rivera Mural Museum in Mexico City. His latest show is planned to open in 2022 at the San Francisco Museum of Art. He is an icon in Mexican Modernism.